Monday, February 04, 2008

California - Day Four

These last few posts don't seem like cycling posts, more like whining about being sick. Today I skipped riding, because, well, it was raining, I was still a bit uncertain about the condition of my stomach and therefore unwilling to stray too far from a restroom. I found myself getting serious chills every now and then too, even though my temperature had returned to my normal 96.9 degrees or so.

I did walk into the garage and look at my bike. Picked it up, tapped the brake levers, because it's still the first things I want to do when I pick up a bike. I feel like I'm dreaming when I look at it because I think it's so cool and yet, incredibly, it's mine. One of those "Wow, do I really own this bike?"

Yes, I do.

So the Giants won the Super Bowl today, quite an upset. I was taught to be a Giants fan back when Walter Payton was a big star so I naturally gravitated towards rooting for them. And although a bit like doping, where things may not be how they seem, the whole "Spygate" thing sort of turned me off the Patriots.

I haven't been following too much of the pre-game hype, but the clips they played before and during the game made the Pats seem a bit... arrogant.

The Giants, in the meantime, just did their job. They played a virtually clean game, their one big error being the pass interference call which cost them an eventual Pats touchdown. But otherwise they seemed by the book, no real penalties, no real interceptions, and some very fine, sometimes lucky, plays.

It's always been in me to cheer for the underdog. It might be a natural thing, or maybe it's because I've never been the favorite when I race. Some probably consider me a marked rider, but never a favorite. Even when I was strong (for me) I was always thinking of my main rivals. Never winning a summer race probably didn't help my status either. And my rivals were all very, very good racers, many of them winning multiple races during the summer time, some of them multiple time national champions. Naturally this pushed my own status back down to "underdog".

The Giants today were an example though. They did things by the book, worked really hard, and made some spectacular individual efforts. And, against all odds, they triumphed. I hope that in some way I can emulate even a little bit of that. The underdog out doing the big dogs and walking away with the prize.

This doesn't happen by just talking or thinking about it.

So tomorrow I plan on getting back on my bike, again, finally. Doing a couple hours easy, spinning, not worrying about being strong, not worrying about readying for a maximum 60 second effort. With nicer weather forecast for later this week, I hope to do a huge mini-cycle to catch the near 70 degree temperatures forecasted in a few days. If that works it'll help salvage what's been a somewhat unproductive "training camp".

Okay, I did watch five Star Wars movies, in order, and perhaps will catch the sixth in the not-so-distant future. But Star Wars won't help me win bike races.

Training will.

3 comments:

Sung said...

Aki
Hope you're feeling better. How did you transport your bike on the plane? Any suggestions?

Sp

Aki said...

Starting to return to normal but definitely not there yet.

I use a Bike Pro knockoff (soft bag) that I got from a friend. I "re-castered" it with much stronger caster wheels and I pack it pretty well. I'll have to do a post but essentially I use this grey foam stuff that the movers used to pack furniture, wrap everything, and remove a lot of things (I do NOT touch a single cable anchor bolt but I do "unseat" the cable housing to give me slack):
1. stem
2. bar
3. rear derailleur
4. seat/post (as a unit)
5. wheels
6. front brake caliper
7. pedals

I wrap and tape the rear derailleur and tape it between the stays.

I remove the front caliper (easier on cables) and bar and stem, toe strap the bar to the fork/headtube. stem goes into a little pouch.

seat/post/bag gets wrapped, sits under downtube.

pedals go in pouch.

wheels go into wheel bags, skewers into the pockets in the bags.

fork is clamped in the frame of the bag. the BB is toe-strapped down, grey padding everywhere.

TT, DT, ST, chainstays, seat stays, top of ST, all wrapped in grey stuff.

Extra spacers sit in place of stem, top cap put on so it's stable (first time I flew with a threadless I found pieces of headset everywhere).

Finally I cover the whole thing in 4-5 layers of the grey stuff.

It does cost extra but I figure it's worth it. I suppose after 10-15 years of flying to the same place I could just leave a bike here but it hasn't come to that yet.

Aki said...

btw I don't know where I got Walter Payton as a Giant. I was thinking of Lawrence Taylor.